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IPA Challenge

Imbibe Live is once more teaming up with SIBA, M&B, There’s A Beer For That and Fuller’s for its 2017 Beer Competition, to find the best IPA of 2017 in the IPA Challenge.

Entries are welcome in bottle or can format and the contest is open to all British breweries. The winner secures a coveted seasonal listing at a selection of M&B’s top pubs, as well as the chance to feature on TABFT’s Beer Match and Explorer digital directories. All five finalists will be able to share their beers in the popular Hop & Apple Bar during Imbibe Live.

As in previous years, initial judging will be hosted by Fuller’s with IPA expert Mark Dorber of The Anchor at Walberswick chairing the panel, including representatives from SIBA, TABFT, M&B and Fuller’s. Finalists will be invited to the Beer & Cider Theatre at Imbibe Live on 3 July. Jonny Garrett of Craft Beer Channel will act as our MC, while the audience listens to the finalists, tastes their beers and ultimately decides on the winners.

Dorber, in his former role at the helm of The White Horse at Parsons’ Green, hosted the pivotal seminars in the early-1990s that helped to kick off the UK revival of the style. He calls IPAs ‘The most popular beer in modern craft brewing.’ Why? ‘Because they are packed with hop flavour and character,’ he says. ‘They are the pinnacle of the pale ale tradition. What other drinks category is experiencing such a surge of interest?’

‘SIBA is very proud to once again be partnering with Imbibe Live on its beer competition,’ says the Association’s Neil Walker. ‘This exciting style allows breweries to really show off what can be done with hops and I’ll be looking for big aromatics and flavour from the beers entered by SIBA’s independent craft-brewing members – some of the most exciting breweries in the UK.’

‘We were absolutely delighted to win last year with Wheaty McWheatface,’ says West Berkshire Brewery’s Simon Lewis. ‘Entering gave us the perfect opportunity to put ourselves up against other brewers in the Wheat Beer Challenge. We also used the competition to engage on social media with our drinkers and let them choose the name for the beer. The listing with M&B was the added bonus for us. We agreed with M&B’s Ben Lockwood the listing of Wheaty in their Castle outlets and received unanimous support and appreciation from the pubs for the period that we were on the bar. With our current move to a new £5m brewery nearing completion, we are looking at the potential of adding Wheaty McWheatface back into our future range. And, as the competition comes around again we are getting geared up to come up with our next new beer.’

So, could you follow in West Berkshire’s footsteps and be the next beer competition winner? Enter now and let your beer do the talking.

Entry Form

To enter, click here

Online entry deadline: 1 June

Further details confirmed upon entry


After entering using the above form, samples must be delivered between the 5-8 June, to Fuller’s, Chiswick for the first round of judging.

Following the initial round of judging, finalists will be notified by 14 June, to ready themselves for the The IPA Challenge Final on 3 July in the Beer & Cider Hub at Imbibe Live.

The winner secures a seasonal listing in early 2018, to be agreed with M&B depending on the style and abv of the winning beer.

Imbibe Live IPA Challenge Competition Page

Any queries, please contact competition manager Susanna Forbes, [email protected] 07811 913971

Imbibe Live

2017 sees the return of the Beer & Cider Hub, with a collection of masterclasses from leading lights in the beer and cider world, including talks from Beer Ambassador, Mitch Adams, of Borough Wines & Spirits, and Cider Ambassador, Tom Oliver, of Oliver’s Cider & Perry. Pete Brown tackles How to Build a Beer List in The Academy, while Adams and Oliver take to the Taste Zone to pit beer against cider in the food matching arena. Overseas input comes courtesy of award-winning American cidermaker, Ryan Burk, and Irish brewing sisters, Judith and Susan Boyle.

On the exhibition floor, The Hop & Apple Bar returns, with a range of smaller, boutique producers, with Cave Direct, North Carolina Beer and Fullers among those to be found on the exhibition floor. For a full list of exhibitors, head to the website.

Tapsters 2017 Competition

The Tapsters, Imbibe Live’s new competition to find the best beer & cider bar team in the land, also debuts this year. For more information click here.